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The Impact Of Cold Weather On Sleep

Dec 12, 2019 | Advice

Cosy nights snuggled in front of the fire, hot chocolates and warm blankets – sounds like the perfect combination to get you into a sleepy mindset, right?

As the temperature drops and it gets colder outside, it becomes very tempting to snuggle up under the covers and hibernate. Many of us even notice changes in our habits related to the weather. The big question is, does the cold weather actually influence how we sleep?

This blog post will investigate the impact of cold weather on sleep. We will also share some top tips on how you can improve your sleep over the cold, winter months.

What impact does cold weather have on sleep?

There are many ways in which your sleep can be interrupted or disturbed during the colder months. Here are some of them:

1.     Cold weather can make your sleep unstable

Some medical research suggests that the impact of cold weather on sleep is proportional to the time that we spend in the cold. Our bodies have a natural ability to adapt to the weather, but the sleep that we experience during the cold winter months is generally unstable. This is because of:

  • An increased need to urinate
  • An increase in stress hormones in the body
  • A raise in blood pressure which is usually at its lowest level whilst we sleep

This helps to explain the significant rise of infections during the winter months.

2.     Less sunlight

Shorter days mean that there is less sunlight. This can cause a deficiency in vitamin D, which research has found to be associated with less sleep overall and with more disrupted sleep in men over the age of 68. As well as this, limited sunlight can cause low melatonin concentrations in your body. This can also cause sleep disruption as this is the hormone that effectively acts as your body clock.

3.     Reduced REM sleep

It has been recognised that even though the cold weather does not affect the deep stages of sleep, it can reduce REM (Rapid Eye Movement). The REM stage of sleep is vital as it helps to stimulate the areas in your brain that are essential for learning and retaining memories. It also helps to relax and clear your mind, and enhances your concentration levels the following day.

4.     Colds & flu

Almost everyone will have experienced the inconvenience and disruption that a cold or the flu can cause to your sleep. The colder months bring an increased chance of catching certain illnesses as viruses can survive better in cold climates. This can negatively affect your breathing, give you a fever and increase aches and pains in your body. All of these issues can mean that getting to sleep (and staying asleep) can become a real struggle!

5. Lack of exercise

When it’s cold outside, exercising outside is usually the last thing you want to do. Staying in the warm all cosy on the sofa sounds much more appealing doesn’t it?! However, exercising in the late afternoon can help to improve your sleep. This is because the decrease in your body’s temperature after exercise can lead you to feel sleepy. On top of this, it can help to reduce stress which could ordinarily keep you up throughout the night.

6.     Too much heating

Keeping your heating on at night can keep you nice and toasty, but it can also cause you to wake up feeling thirsty during the night. Sometimes this can mean that getting back to sleep is a struggle. It is recommended that you keep your bedroom between 16-18 degrees Celsius when you are sleeping. Blankets and bed linen made from natural fibres such as cotton and wool can also help to regulate your body temperature throughout the night.

How to improve your sleep when it’s cold

With sleep being vital for our health and well-being, it is important to understand how you can regulate your sleeping pattern throughout the colder months. Here are some top tips:

  • Keep as active as possible: even if this means doing some exercises in your home
  • Don’t overheat your home: you will sleep best if your room is between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius
  • Get your flu jab: are you eligible for a free flue vaccination? If so, be sure to get yours booked!
  • Consider a new bed: have you ever wondered whether it’s your bed that is reducing your sleep quality? The electric motors in an adjustable bed allow you to find a sleeping position that is comfortable for you every single night! They can be particularly beneficial if you suffer from aches and pains or any medical conditions that adversely affect your sleep!

Want to find out more about how an adjustable bed could improve your sleep this winter? Click here to request your free brochure today! Or, give our friendly team a call on 0800 988 2898, they will be more than happy to assist you!


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